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Assisting with the care of children and parents during separation or after a divorce
- Make the well-being of the child the top priority – that they are loved above all else as always by parents, family, friends, and God.
- Communicate in an age-appropriate understanding the meaning and reality of divorce, why parents are divorcing, and in a language that the child can comprehend.
- Encourage and answer all questions honestly that the child can comprehend and tolerate knowing.
- Help the child to identify and express all their feelings honestly, acknowledge their feelings – it is a traumatic disruption, loss and change event.
- Assurance to the child from both parents that they will continue to be there for them, but in a different arrangement, proving stability and structure of lifestyle and relationships.
- Child needs to know that the divorce is not their fault, or God’s fault.
- Importance that there be as little disruption of normal routines and continuity of supports – family, neighborhood, school, parish community.
- Do not expose the child to adult conflict, disrespectful or abusive behavior between parents.
- Do not speak negatively about the other parent with the child.
- Notify parents of close friends of the separation/divorce.
- Notify the school of separation/divorce for support services.
- Parent(s) should seek out support from parish community for child and parents – Divorce Recovery support group, pastoral support, resources.
- Seek out professional counseling for the child, family – Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan http://ccsem.org/
- Attend support groups for separation/divorce for parents.